In many companies, the number of tasks that an employer entrusts to an employee varies significantly depending on the week or period of the month. At the point when a large and urgent project is being carried out, there is a need for the employee to be at work for a longer period, while after the project is completed, there is time when the employee may work less. Many employers are looking for a solution for their organisation that would allow them to organise their working time in this sort of way.

The solution offered by the Labour Code is the equivalent working time system. We would like to present the most important information about this working time system.

What is the Equivalent Working Time System?

The equivalent working time system is characterised by the fact that it is permissible for the employer to extend the daily working time beyond the standard 8 hours. The daily working time of the employee may be up to 12 hours. The extended daily working time on certain days of the month must be compensated for by a shorter daily working time on certain other days or by a day off. The employee’s working time must be balanced over a billing period, which is standardly a month. Monthly working time is calculated on the basis of a 40-hour weekly working time standard. If the monthly billing period shows that the number of hours worked by the employee exceeds the number of hours resulting from the weekly standards, these additional hours constitute overtime and must be accounted for as overtime.

When can a equivalent working time system be introduced?

The equivalent working time system may be introduced, if it is justified by the type of work or its organisation. The assessment of whether an Employer can introduce the equivalent working time system must be made on a case-by-case basis.

Settlement period

In the equivalent working time system, the billing period not exceed 1 month. However, there are situations where the settlement period may be extended. And so the billing period can be extended: a) up to 3 months – in particularly justified cases, b) up to 4 months – for work depending on the time of year or weather conditions. It should be borne in mind, however, that in the case of an employer in whose organisation there is no trade union or whose trade union organisation does not agree to a change in the reference period, the reference period may be extended only after prior notification to the district labour inspector.

The extension of working hours does not apply to every employee

Notwithstanding the fact that working time may be extended up to 12 hours under the system of equivalent working time, there are workers whose working time may not exceed 8 hours, even if the employer has a system of equivalent working time. The working time shall not exceed 8 hours in the case of: – workers employed at workplaces where the maximum permitted concentrations or intensities of agents harmful to health are exceeded; – pregnant workers; – workers caring for a child until the child reaches the age of 4, unless they consent to such an excess. Such a worker retains the right to remuneration for unworked time if working hours are reduced due to restrictions on him. In addition, the working time of a young worker is also subject to restrictions.

Extended working hours and the right of the employee to rest

In the system of equivalent working time, the rules concerning the worker’s right to rest remain in force: – the worker is entitled to at least 11 hours of uninterrupted rest per day; – the worker is entitled to at least 35 hours of uninterrupted rest each week and at least 24 hours in the event of a change in working hours; – the working week is 5 days. Under the system of equivalent working time, the regulations on the admissibility of work on Sundays and public holidays remain in force.

How to introduce a system of equivalent working time

The introduction of a system of equivalent working time at the employer takes place through: – the establishment of such a system in a collective agreement with a trade union organisation, – the definition of this system in work regulations, – if the employer is not covered by a collective agreement or is not obliged to establish work regulations – issue a notice.

How can we help?

If you would like to know more about the equivalent working time system, or if you would like to receive support with the introduction of the system, in particular with the preparation of the necessary documentation, please contact us.